main: August 2008 Archives

Available online from Walmart...


reds.jpg


According to a message posted on the Left Business Observer list, the DVD comes with "a free CD sampler of bands like A-Ha, Erasure, INXS, etc."

My feelings about all of this are complicated. But then, so is the artifact.
August 20, 2008 7:10 PM | | Comments (2)
According to the Wikipedia entry for the Van Halen song "Running With the Devil," Robert Walser contends that "the feeling of freedom created by the freedom of motion of the guitar solos and fills can be at various times supported, defended, or threatened by the physical power of the bass and the violence of the drums. The latter rigidly organize and control time; the guitar escapes with flashy runs."

Naturally I am disappointed to learn that the Robert Walser in question is not the Swiss novelist, who died in 1956 and who in any case would have been a little old to be a headbanger when the first VH album appeared thirty years ago.

Be that as it may, Walser underestimates the importance of David Lee Roth, whose vocals you can listen to sans music here. (Thanks to Chris Lehmann for the link.)

Warning: Do not play this while drinking a beverage. It will exit through your nose.
August 19, 2008 3:17 PM | | Comments (2)

How unfortunate that this program is not real. It would be infinitely preferable to a lot of what PBS puts on. Yes, I'm looking at you, Yanni at the Acropolis.

I'm pretty sure Gettin' Head: History's Most Famous Decapitations is an actual program on cable. If not, just wait.

August 17, 2008 6:23 PM | | Comments (1)
Henry has written about Wendt and Duvall's "Sovereignty and the UFO" at The Monkey Cage. And my column yesterday lauded both the timely urgency of the paper and the aesthetically satisfying way it resists counterarguments.

But after thinking it over a little, I believe a critique from outside the poli-sci orbit is necessary.

Wendt and Duvall seem to mount a radical challenge to the anthropocentrism of contemporary ideas of sovereignty. But in so doing, they are complicit with the lingering effects of Cold War ideology -- for nowhere do W&D consider the work of Juan Posadas, who proved four decades ago (to his own satisfaction anyway) that flying saucers demonstrate the existence of communism elsewhere in the galaxy.
August 14, 2008 1:07 PM | | Comments (2)
It turns out there is a born-again approximation of The Onion called Lark News. Sample story:

ST. PAUL -- College students from a Bible school here have started an unusual outreach program to men with ponytails.
    "We consider them a distinct unreached people group," says Bart Nkomo, 23, from St. Paul Bible College. "That ponytail is really a cry for help."
This tends to confirm my suspicion that every single element of American mass culture will eventually have its parallel in the evangelical world.

Via Doug at LBO-L.
August 12, 2008 12:04 PM | | Comments (4)
My report on last month's protest at the embassy in Washington, DC.
August 12, 2008 11:53 AM |

Maud Newton and I have something in common -- something we do not share with most of our colleagues and neighbors and friends, nowadays, at least since each of us moved to Yankee-stan.

We both grew up in the South, not just "around fundamentalists" but within the shadow of all those "beasts with seven horns and ten crowns," and "baskets of locusts with scorpion tails," and "golden cups filled with the abominations of the world" and whatnot described in the apocalyptic books of Daniel, Ezekiel, and St. John. (Some friends have urged me to write about getting out from under that shadow -- but man, how do you even start?)

Thus it is that we can watch this John McCain video and see the same thing:


Maud gets it, though I might venture to quibble very slightly:

It is designed to galvinize a very specific group: Evangelical Christians of the End Times, Rapture-Ready variety. It is designed, more to the point, to scare the shit out of these people by insinuating that Barack Obama is the Antichrist. This is a particularly nefarious and crafty argument to make because it is the one context in which all the candidate's strengths -- his smarts, his articulateness, his contagious smile and way with people -- can become evidence against him. All these traits are associated in the Bible with the charismatic, popular, well-spoken man who is supposed to become the leader of the world and bring about the Tribulation.

My possible point of dispute is based on a recollection that there is another character in this scenario -- a false prophet who works with the Antichrist (preparing the way for him more or less as John the Baptist did for Jesus).

So maybe that's supposed to be Obama's role, rather than that of the Beast himself? Either way, it is not good.

The people who created the ad know that most of the public won't pick up on any of this.

But as someone who grew up in the 1970s listening to a rock opera called It's Getting Late for the Great Planet Earth! (not reissued on CD, alas) I have no doubt the message will be received loud and clear by the audience it's aimed at, which otherwise might not feel that enthusiastic about McCain himself as a candidate.

On second thought, this might not help the campaign very much. If you are waiting for the Rapture, it's not like preventing the rise of the beast with seven horns and ten crowns etc. is a huge priority. (You sort of want to get it all over with, ASAP.)

The RNC panders to these folks, but it doesn't actually consist of them. The ad's makers know their audience but not quite well enough to grasp how it really thinks.

August 4, 2008 2:40 PM | | Comments (12)

Hell yes.....

... though it will take quite a while, of course, before this gets States-side.

See the article by Peter Hockenos from The Boston Review last year. And, before that, Brian Sholis on an art exhibit devoted to the RAF.

August 3, 2008 8:22 PM | | Comments (5)
There is something despiriting, if not depressing, about being obliged to keep on with a book well after it's proven to be mediocre and slightly barmy, with no real prospect of ever getting any better.

That was the case earlier this week as I made my dutiful way through Vincent Bugliosi's The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, which has been subject to "a virtual media blackout," according to the phrase used, in one variation or other, in most of the media coverage it has received.

My review of it has just gone up at Bloomberg -- and now come the letters (two of them so far) from readers who demand to know how it is that a book can attack Bush and yet not be a good book. Clearly this is, in their view, a metaphysical impossibility.

And yet it is so. No doubt they will deduce that I am a Republican; given their axioms, it is the only logical conclusion.

In truth, of course, I am just disappointed that Bugliosi did not argue that Bush started the war under the influence of messages he heard while playing Toby Keith albums backwards.
August 1, 2008 10:24 AM | | Comments (3)

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